At a time when legislators should be working in a bipartisan manner to create the FY16 budget, House Democrats have been making a mockery of the legislative process. Rather than allowing the budget working groups to complete their work and send appropriation bills through the committee process for proper vetting, Speaker Madigan has instead decided to engage in a process meant to divide, not unite the House of Representatives.
Last week House Democrats short-circuited the budget process by bringing the Human Services budget directly to the House floor with little notice and no committee deliberations. They brought the multi-billion dollar spending bill to the floor before a revenue number was determined and before spending priorities were identified by the Appropriations-Human Services Committee. After insisting the bill be brought to the floor, Democrats voted unanimously against it. Because the action was not genuine, House Republicans voted “Present.”
Immediately after that vote, House Democrats filed 15 additional amendments, choosing various State programs and running funding amendments one at a time. With no general revenue number set and a refusal to view the specific funding areas as part of a larger budget package, Republicans again voted “Present” on the amendments.
Today the games continued as House Democrats brought additional human service amendments to the floor for votes. They continued to cherry-pick select programs and ignore the lack of a general revenue number, so again, House Republicans voted “Present.”
I take my role as a State Representative very seriously, and when I come to Springfield I arrive ready to engage in serious discussions on matters of importance. But when those on the other side of aisle refuse to respect our rules and procedures, they are doing a great disservice to the people of Illinois. As long as the majority party continues to engage in unprofessional and counterproductive activities such as those that have unfolded on the House floor during the last two weeks, House Republicans will continue to vote “Present.”
Click here to hear Rep. Morrison’s recent interview about the issue.